The long-running Israel-Palestine conflict is in its most serious escalation in recent years, with the possibility of the situation deteriorating into a “full-scale war,” as the United Nations has warned. The fighting in Gaza between Israel and Palestinian militants began on May 10th, following weeks of rising Israeli-Palestinian tension in East Jerusalem, which resulted in clashes at al-Aqsa, a holy site revered by both Muslims and Jews. After warning Israel to leave the site, Hamas began firing rockets, urging retaliatory airstrikes.
According to Gaza’s health ministry, at least 243 people were killed, including more than 100 women and children. During the fighting, Israel claims to have killed at least 225 militants. Hamas has not provided fighter casualty figures.
According to Israel’s medical service, 12 people were killed, including two children.
The situation has been made worse by the domestic political issues that both governments’ ruling parties are confronting. In Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has failed to form a coalition for the second time, while Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has decided to postpone parliamentary and presidential elections for fear of losing to the opposition. The United Nations has called on both states to immediately resolve the situation.
Other Nations View on Israel-Palestine conflict
U.S. New President Joe Biden wanted to put the Trump administration’s proposal for Middle East peace on hold and refocus on the Indo-Pacific, but the recent Israel-Palestine escalation derailed that plan. In response to the escalating violence, Biden emphasized the United States’ support for Israel’s security and “legitimate right to defend itself,” later adding that he did not see any “overreaction” by Israeli forces in Gaza.
Russia and China appear to be taking a neutral view on the Israel-Palestine conflict. Moscow is urging both parties to “de-escalate tensions and resolve emerging issues peacefully.” China took the same stance as Russia, urging all parties to exercise restraint to avoid further casualties. Russia and China are well-known for their shared view of the United Nations as a cornerstone of global political architecture while opposing the US-promoted “rules-based international order.”
On May 13, Putin, along with U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, called for an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through a “two-state solution,” which would imply the establishment of Palestine as an independent state alongside Israel. Russia and the United Nations have been promoting the resumption of talks within the system of the Middle East Quartet – a format established in 2002 by the United Nations, the United States, the European Union, and Russia to mediate Middle East peace talks by supporting Palestinian economic development and institution building.
China and Russia have urged the United Nations to “do more to de-escalate tensions and implement a two-state solution.” On May 13, Beijing expressed its disappointment with the United States for impeding the UN Security Council’s May 12 discussion by refusing to approve a joint statement calling for a peaceful resolution through a “two-state solution.” Another emergency meeting of the UN Security Council, scheduled for May 14, was postponed due to US objections – a move that irritated Beijing as well. The eventual meeting on May 16 also resulted in a political deadlock, prompting China to accuse Washington of “obstructing” common action.
End Of Israel-Palestine conflict
On May 19, Biden bowed to Democratic pressure and backed a ceasefire, recognizing the need to end the hostility by addressing both sides of the conflict, including abuses committed by long-time ally Israel. The US president stated that Washington would rely on regional partners to facilitate a deal between the two parties, with Egypt and Qatar being the most vocal supporters. A ceasefire agreement reached between Israel and Palestinian armed groups in the Gaza Strip appeared to be holding on Friday.
The US president stated that his next moves will provide important clues to Washington’s long-term Middle East policy, as well as the new administration’s approach to its regional stronghold – Israel.